Interior Design

Interior design influences the way we interact with the built environment. As an interior design major, you’ll identify design problems and opportunities to apply design to improve the lived experience. Our CIDA-accredited program combines extensive exposure to materials and techniques with critiques and discussions that focus on developing your unique artistic voice.

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Through small classes and personalized instruction, you’ll learn code-related design criteria, as well as confront ethical challenges faced by designers in the field – including the protection of natural resources, socio-geographical inequalities, and the accommodation of diverse human. Our program also emphasizes career-readiness, immersing you in Boston’s booming design sector. Professional development courses and internships will prepare you to make a seamless transition into this highly lucrative industry after graduation.

As an interior design major, you will:

  • Gain a foundation in art and design history, theories of design, and sustainable design
  • Cultivate analytical and self-critical skills
  • Master a broad range of industry-specifics tools, from free-hand sketching to sophisticated CAD renderings and digital modeling
  • Develop strong presentation skills by sharing your work with peers, faculty, and external guest critics
  • Learn to work effectively on teams and collaborate with both designers and non-designers

Experience is Everything

Interior Design Program Overview


The interior design program leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

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The CIDA-accredited program prepares students for entry-level interior design practice, for advanced study, and to apply for membership in professional interior design organizations. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design granted by Suffolk University meets the educational requirement for eligibility to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification Examination (NCIDQ Exam). For more information about NCIDQ Exam eligibility, visit the NCIDQ eligibility page.
See our Student Achievement Data

The Major

All art & design students spend their first year completing our foundation studies program. As a Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate in interior design, you'll develop a comprehensive knowledge of design theory and history, along with communication and design skills. Your studies will explore sustainable and socially-conscious design, lighting, and furniture design, as well as code adherence and professional practices. You’ll also develop fluency in the two- and three-dimensional design software and computer hardware contemporary designers use.

Our courses also incorporate group critiques, during which students formally present their work to their classmates and instructors and receive constructive feedback. Faculty often invite design professionals to participate as guest reviewers, as well.
View the Interior Design Major Curriculum
View the Art & Design laptop requirements

Internship Requirement

Internships are your opportunity to apply your skills and explore possible career paths. Interior design majors must complete at least 120 hours at an internship site under the direction of a design professional and take our Marketing, Contracts & Internships course to fulfill the requirement.

Customize Your Degree

Interior design students can complement their skills with courses or minors in areas such as:

The Art Gallery space

A&D Spaces

Transcript 0:00 (upbeat music)
0:04 - Right now we're in our Suffolk Sawyer Building on Floor A,
0:09 and this is where interior design students will spend most
0:11 of their time as it has some of our largest studio spaces
0:14 down here.
0:15 They feature large tables that we can all gather
0:18 and work around, and then we also have all
0:21 of the crit space on the walls around us.
0:23 So it's a great place to get feedback from our peers
0:26 and the critics that our professors bring in.
0:28 You can normally find students here on the weekends
0:31 and late at night working on projects together,
0:34 so it really becomes a second home.
0:36 Each of our classrooms are nice
0:38 because they're not too big, so you still get
0:40 that community feel while being really comfortable
0:43 and able to move around.
0:45 - In the wood shop, there's a bunch of different resources.
0:47 There's cutting tables, there's
0:50 a laser table, there's bloom, rug tufter, 2/3D printers, spray booth,
0:55 and any kind of medium that you wanna work on.
0:58 As students come in with different projects
1:00 and ideas, we work with the students to make sure
1:02 that they can get the materials that they need
1:04 to execute those very ideas.
1:06 - This is the print studio.
1:07 We're located on the B floor of the Sawyer Building.
1:10 Here, we do all things printmaking.
1:12 We have cyanotype, we have screen printing,
1:15 and then we have more traditional things
1:17 like lino cuts and etchings.
1:21 - Here, we're on the sixth floor Sawyer,
1:23 where we'll find graphic design classrooms,
1:26 studio art spaces,
1:27 and the Suffolk University Art Gallery.
1:30 At the Suffolk Gallery,
1:31 students are able to showcase their work in a couple shows
1:33 a year, as well as outside artists being able to come in
1:36 and showcase their work as well.
1:37 It's a really unique experience that's part
1:39 of the Suffolk Art and Design community,
1:41 and it's really cool to be inspired by the pieces
1:44 that you walk by every day.
1:45 - The sixth floor also hosts our graphic design classes.
1:49 So we have several classrooms, computer labs,
1:51 that all graphic design classes will take complacent.
1:54 - We have a book finding machine, we have a guillotine,
1:57 and as someone that's really interested in editorial design,
2:00 I take advantage of it.
2:01 We also have an apps and printer.
2:03 The quality is amazing
2:04 and resolution really matters when it comes to printing,
2:08 especially as well as digital work.
2:11 - This is the sixth floor hallway where a lot
2:13 of the studio majors who are taking either the Tuesday
2:15 or the Thursday class will display some of their work.
2:17 So here's some of the examples
2:18 of what we do in our Tuesday class.
2:20 Actually, this is a drawing of the Tuesday class in session.
2:27 - Right now we're on the 10th floor of the Sawyer building,
2:30 and on this floor is where all the foundational courses
2:32 happen for the Art and Design Department.
2:35 Here, you'll take graphic design courses,
2:37 you'll take integrated studio courses and drawing courses.
2:42 - I really fell in love with Suffolk
2:43 because it's located in the heart of Boston,
2:45 and so I think that it's the perfect place
2:47 to study when you wanna be surrounded by good,
2:51 youthful energy here,
2:52 but you're also passionate about your career
2:55 and really want people that will push you
2:56 to be the best version of yourself
2:58 and get as much out of your college experience as you can.
3:00 (upbeat music)

Beyond the Classroom

In our program, you’ll design spaces for a myriad of people and purposes. A critical part of that process is learning how to take a client through a proposal with sketches, 3D renderings, and vivid descriptions that truly communicate your vision. That’s why our students present their work constantly—to each other, to faculty and alumni, and to industry professionals.

You’ll also have access to augmented and virtual reality technology through our faculty’s strong partnerships with the university’s STEM programs, allowing you to move through spaces as you design them and explain your ideas in 4D.

Interior design is a collaborative process. In many of your courses you’ll present your work to outside experts, gaining valuable perspectives from specialists in lighting, architecture, materials, and more. Learning to give and receive constructive criticism will help you refine your projects as you grow in skill and confidence. Your senior capstone will show your progress as you research, design, review, and iterate to create and present a final project that represents your unique perspective.

Student geturing at artwork hanging on a wall 

At Suffolk, you’ll learn to design spaces that balance form and function while also focusing on the wellbeing of people and the planet. You’ll become well-versed in international standards of sustainability and wellness and the concepts behind them, while cultivating the practical knowledge to apply them well and the curiosity to push beyond them.

You’ll visit locations nearby like the Boston Waterfront Innovation District to see how designers are reimagining neighborhoods to meet modern needs and enhance climate resilience. And in our Studio I course, you’ll take on the challenge of creating a sustainable, multicultural design that works within the constraints of a real unoccupied retail building steps from campus.

Our faculty work across disciplines to help find meaningful solutions to urban ecological challenges. They collaborate with colleagues in environmental science, business, and other fields at Suffolk and around the world, including holding a joint International Workshop on Urban Ecological Security and Sustainability with faculty from the Center for Urban Eco-Planning & Design at Fudan University in Shanghai every two years.

Student gesturing at laptop screen showing design/CAD software 

Our program will prepare you to step confidently into your professional career—and by the time you graduate, you’ll have a good idea of what your first step should be. That’s because most of our students complete multiple internships in various aspects of the industry, as well as a class in professional practice, to gain experience and refine their goals.

You’ll form strong bonds with your fellow students and faculty here, and be welcomed into a creative community that includes alumni who are top working professionals in virtually every aspect of design. You can participate in events through the Interior Design Organization, a student-run group that provides networking and experiential learning opportunities. We also encourage our students to join professional organizations, and many have won competitions and awards from groups such as the International Interior Design Association of New England and the Designers Lighting Forum of New England.

Center for Career Equity, Development & Success

The Career Center will help you explore career options, plan your path, and land your dream internship or job. You’ll find practical help, like how to write an effective résumé or LinkedIn profile, along with valuable connections to leading employers and successful alumni. A specific career community for Humanities and the Arts provides events and information tailored just for our students.

Success after Suffolk

Here's a sampling of recent graduates’ current job titles and employers.

Junior Designer
Capello Design
Junior Interior Designer
Dumais, Inc.
Design Assistant
Hudson Interior Designs
Junior Interior Designer
IA Interior Architects
Interior Designer
JS Interiors, LLC
Interior Design Project Manager
Kristin Paton Interiors
Interior Designer I
Perkins & Will
AutoCAD Designer
Staples, Inc.
Design Assistant
Elms Interior Design
Interior Designer
Hacin + Associates
Interior Design Assistant
Heather Wells Inc.
Interior Design Assistant
LeBlanc Design, LLC

Questions? Get in touch!

Randal Thurston

Randal Thurston

Professor & Department Chair of Art & Design

Email [email protected]

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